Hugh Hefner, the founder of Playboy magazine, died Wednesday at his Beverly Hills-area home, the Playboy Mansion, at age 91.
Playboy Enterprises said he died of natural causes.
The magazine was founded more than 60 years ago and created a niche upscale men's magazine, combining images of nude women with in-depth articles, interviews and fiction by writers and subjects including Norman Mailer, Alex Haley, Bertrand Russell and Jimmy Carter.
Hefner reportedly founded the magazine with $600 and $1,000 borrowed from his mother. The first centerfold, a feature of the monthly magazine, was of Marilyn Monroe late in 1953.
"My father lived an exceptional and impactful life as a media and cultural pioneer and a leading voice behind some of the most significant social and cultural movements of our time in advocating free speech, civil rights and sexual freedom," Cooper Hefner, Playboy Enterprises' chief creative officer, said in the statement.
"He defined a lifestyle and ethos that lie at the heart of the Playboy brand, one of the most recognizable and enduring in history," the son added.